Rana waits expectantly for an answer, but none comes. Pacey and Joey both stand there, dumbfounded, still not believing what they're seeing.
"What are you doing here?" Joey asks, her voice almost cracking. "I mean - you're in California!"
"What are *you* doing here? I thought you went to NYU. That's what you said-"
"I did go there. I just had to transfer here. I had no idea that you were here!"
"I didn't know you were here either! How long have you been here?"
"Almost a year now. God...Jo...I can't believe it's really you. I've missed you so much," Pacey wraps his arms around Joey in a warm hug, which she gladly accepts, smiling.
"I've missed you too," she replies.
"Um, hello?" Chris' impatient voice cuts through the moment. "Jay, sorry to interrupt, but..." Joey looks at Pacey, confused.
"Why is he calling you Jay?" Pacey slowly disentangles himself from her arms.
"Well, I've been going by my middle name, for awhile now."
"But...why?" Joey knits her eyebrows, puzzled. For some reason, it caused a twinge of pain in her heart that Pacey changed his name, she didn't know why. But there were too many emotions floating around in her head at the moment to truly distinguish one from the other, much less figure out why they were there.
"It's...a long story. All of it is." Pacey glances at Chris and Rana, really wishing that they would just disappear. It was hard enough suddenly stumbling upon Joey without feeling like he has to explain what's going on to them too. "Do you...do you wanna find some place to sit and talk, maybe?" Joey nods. "Guys, just go have a good time, okay? I'll explain this to you later." He murmurs to Chris then follows Joey through the crowd toward the exit.
"I don't understand how the two of them know each other," Rana says to Chris as they both watch their respective roommates disappear into the swirling mass of dancers. Chris shrugs.
"I don't know. It's a small world."
"They must've gone out or something, you know? There was just so much tension between them-"
"The whole kissing thing wasn't a clue?" Chris snorts.
"You know what I mean. And what was with the whole thing with her calling Jay Pacey? And what he said?" Chris wraps his arms around Rana's waist and kisses her on the lips, stopping her from talking.
"Rana, let's just dance. Whatever the heck Jay - or Pacey - or Bob, Joe, Tom, whatever his name is - has going on, we shouldn't waste our time playing Colombo over it, ya know? Let's just have a good time." Rana looks in the direction that Pacey went with Joey, contemplatively. After a minute, she sighs.
"Okay, you're right. Dance?"
Pacey and Joey walk out into the parking lot silently, glancing at one another every so often as they look for a decent place to sit and talk. Pacey stops by the chain link fence which lines the back of the parking lot and sits down on the small curb in front of it. Joey joins him, adjusting her dress. Pacey smiles.
"You look great," he smiles. "I mean, you really, really do." Joey smiles despite herself, then starts to protest when he continues.
"Though I bet you're wanting to kill yourself now for wearing a dress that made you feel so unlike yourself, right?"
"Got that right," Joey replies, smiling genuinely. "Don't know why I let Rana talk me into it."
"Well, I'm sure you were expecting some hot date, not me," Pacey nudges her in the ribs, still gazing at her intently.
"You're not looking too shabby yourself, Mr. Witter," Joey says, not entirely sure if their friendly conversation is really a manifestation of their awkwardness and surprise or if they truly are just falling back into step as if they'd never left one another. Maybe it was a little bit of both. They lock eyes for what seems like an eternity, until Pacey suddenly breaks away, falling back to reality. "Don't let that go to your head or anything," Joey murmurs nervously.
"Don't worry, Josephine, I never do," Pacey mumbles back, half smiling at the jest. They're both quiet for a moment, focusing their eyes out onto the endless rows of cars that stretch across the vast parking lot. "Which one's yours?"
"Oh, I don't have one. I know that the Potter family is known for its riches, but I decided that I just didn’t need one,” Joey smirks. “Rana, Chris and I took the bus here."
"Mine's the red Toyota," Pacey gestures to a spot not far away from where they're sitting. "Not exactly a choice specimen, but, you take what you can get, you know?" Joey nods.
"Better than taking the bus."
"Yeah..." They fall silent again.
"So Joey-" They both start at the same time, then they laugh nervously. Joey turns and looks at him, her eyes moving over every inch of his face. How many hours she had spent gazing at him during high school, she couldn’t possibly know. He looks just the same as he always had, but so different. There were the subtle differences of course; his jaw line was more defined, the faint traces of a five o’clock shadow beginning to show, his body stronger and his shoulders wider…but there also seemed to be that inexplicable quality which just made him seem more grown up, more manly, than she had remembered him. More sexy and mysterious. He seemed so much the same, but in a way an entirely different person. Could that be possible? Realizing that he’s looking right back at her, Joey blushes.
“You can say what you were going to say first,” she mumbles, averting her eyes.
“I was just going to ask…you know, why you’re here. In Boston. I mean…I thought you were at NYU all this time.” Pacey says, his tone carrying a hint of sadness. “If I had known you were here, I would’ve come to see you.”
“You really would’ve?” Joey inquires, not entirely sure if he’s speaking truth.
“Of course I would’ve, Jo,” Pacey replies defensively, taken aback by her disbelief. Joey is quiet for a moment before continuing.
“I just…we’ve been out of touch for so long, I don’t know…” she attempts to explain.
“Well, you’re right about that. Look at us. At the same college and we didn’t even know it.” Pacey laughs lightly, and Joey joins him. “How strange is that.”
“Only fitting. You and I never were ones to be caught in a typical situation.”
“No, that’s right…we weren’t…”Pacey murmurs, the silence that follows his statement full to the brim with meaning. He tries to block all the memories from coming into his mind, closing his eyes for a second as he tries to push the thoughts away. “So why’d you transfer here?” He asks, trying to get back to the topic at hand.
“Bessie got sick, Pace.” Joey tells him, her expression filling in the rest of the details. Pacey knew immediately what had transpired, the color draining from his face.
“Breast cancer?” he almost whispers, fearing the worst. “Is she okay?” He holds his breath, hoping to God that Joey hadn’t lost the only family she had.
“She’s fine. She’s going to be fine. She’s in remission, they’re still keeping an eye on her, just in case. Luckily, Bessie always kept on top of her examinations and stuff…because of our mom…they caught it early.” Pacey breathes a sigh of relief, and without thinking, wraps his arms around Joey in a comforting embrace.
“That’s good to hear, Joey,” he says, resting his head next to hers. “I wish I had known, I wish I could’ve been here.” He takes a small step back from her, gently running his hand through her hair. Joey doesn’t process this affectionate gesture until long after it has happened; she realized those kind of things had been happening since the instant they ran into each other. Tiny little moments when they betrayed their emotions without even realizing it. Pacey frowns slightly as he watches Joey, wondering what she’s thinking. “Why didn’t anyone call me?”
Joey breaks away from him completely, softly turning away.
“You were in California, Pacey…we hadn’t talked in such a long time. In almost two years. I didn’t even know if we were friends anymore.” Pacey begins to interrupt, but she doesn’t let him. “I wasn’t alone, if that’s what you’re worried about. There was Bodie and Mr. And Mrs. Leery…Dawson came home to stay for awhile.”
“You still keep in touch with Dawson?” Pacey bites back a bitter laugh, knowing his pent-up emotion don’t have a place in this discussion.
“Yeah, we call each other every now and then. His parents called him about Bessie and he came right back.” Joey finally glances at him. “Your parents obviously didn’t call you about it. I figured they wouldn’t.”
“I would’ve come home too, Joey, if I had known. I would’ve wanted to be there for you.”
“I didn’t want to bother you with it, Pace. You had your own life. We all went our separate ways, we weren’t the Capeside Four anymore. There wasn’t any need to drag you back just so I could have an extra shoulder to cry on. There wasn’t any point in disrupting your life over it.” She looks at him again, surprised to see the anger building in his green eyes.
“No point in disrupting my life?” He repeats. “Joey, you’ve been a part of my life ever since I can remember. Coming home to be there with you while your only sister is sick wouldn’t have been a *disruption*.” Pacey looks at the ground, clenching his right fist and taking a deep breath, not wanting to get upset. “I…I just wish that I had known.”
“I believe telephones work both ways, Pacey. You could just have easily picked up the phone and called me,” Joey rolls her eyes.
“So, why didn’t you?”
“For the same reasons you didn’t call me, I guess. It’s just something that happens. One week you’re too tired to call…the next you just don’t feel like writing that letter…and before you know it, it’s been two years and you’re running into your old best friend at a club in Boston.” He sighs. “Besides…that life…Capeside…it’s not me anymore. There’s things there, memories, places…things that I just want to forget, you know?”
“People?” Joey asks, tentatively.
“Yes…people too…” Pacey replies, his voice low then he laughs at the irony. “But it seems like no matter how hard I tried, I just missed you guys too much to be able to forget you.” He stands up, directing the attention back to Joey. “So, how do you like being back in Boston? You going back to New York once Bessie’s feeling 100% again?”
“I’m just going to stay here. No point in going through all the pains of transferring back, you know?” Joey shrugs as Pacey sits down on the front hood of a nearby car. “What about you? All this time I’ve been thinking that you were off in California getting tan and having the time of your life dating tall blondes, and here you are, back in Massachusetts. Care to explain that, jail bait?” Joey smiles, trying to lighten the mood. Pacey grins back at her.
“Well, it seems that by my sophomore year, true to Witter form, I realized that I didn’t want to pursue my major and returned to Capeside with my black sheep’s tail between my legs. Due to my utter confusion of realizing that I had in fact wasted two years of my life learning the ins and outs of the profession of psychology, I decided rather to attend the nearby and relatively cheaper school here in Boston rather than listen to another one of my father’s rantings and ravings about having to pay for his no-good son’s education via telephone – you know it’s much more fun to hear them in person.” Pacey laughs. “You obviously can imagine what his response was when I told him about my decision to switch majors. After the screaming and the degrading name calling, he insisted that I come back to college near home so he could keep a close eye on me and what I’m doing. That lasted for about two weeks before we had another huge blowout and he stopped talking to me all together.”
“So, is he not even paying for your tuition anymore?”
“No, somehow the checks keep coming in. Guess the old man would rather pay for the education now so he won’t have to support me later. I suppose there is a method to his every decision, some reason for everything, right? Either that or the guy simply has a soft spot for me that I don’t know about.”
“But as long as he’s paying for it now and not giving you grief over it, you might as well take advantage of it, right?”
“Damn straight.” They grin at each other. Joey gets up from her seat on the ground and crosses toward him, gingerly sitting down next to him on the car’s hood and nudging him with her elbow gently.
“So here we are. Together again.”
“Pacey and Joey. Best friends for now, for always, right?” Pacey replies, and Joey immediately recognizes his words as what she wrote in his yearbook.
“I can’t believe you remember that.”
“What's so unbelievable about it, if you remember it too?” He grins, but inside his heart twingres. Of course he remembered it. Pacey remembered those words as if they were etched right into his brain. They had hurt him terribly; best friends. That was all. He had wanted much more. So much more. It had been hard to look at those words and know that that was all they could ever be. And even that hadn’t lasted. “Too bad you were wrong about always and forever, though.”
“We’re still best friends, Pace,” Joey says quickly. “Just because we haven’t talked in awhile doesn’t change what’s between us.”
“Two years is more than awhile, Jo.”
“Not in the grand scheme of things. We’re going to live to be at least 80 years old, Pacey. What difference is two years really going to make when you look at the big picture? Two years? That’s nothing.” Joey says the words, but doesn’t believe them herself. Who was she kidding? Two years was forever. Especially when he had no idea how badly she had wanted to be with him. Two years apart as friends? Hard enough. Explaining to him that she hadn’t been able to have one decent relationship because she was still madly in love with him wasn’t exactly going to put the pieces back together again either.
Pacey buys her false happiness and hope willingly, wanting to make her words true.
“Maybe we should start making up for lost time now, then,” Pacey says, offering her his arm. "How about we go inside and show all these people what dancing really is?"
"If you're referring to our misguided attempt at dance lessons back in high school, Pacey, I sincerely doubt that a dance club is the place to show off our tango."
"We never learned the tango," Pacey replies, his voice carrying more meaning than he had meant to let on. "Come on." He pulls her inside before his last words sunk into Joey's consciousness.
Maybe when you two are ready, you can learn the tango. It's the dance of love..." The dance teacher's words ring in Pacey's mind as he leads Joey back into the loud club. He and Joey had learned to dance all right. Dance around each other and around their feelings, that is. More like a Mexican Hat Dance where they took circling around Dawson’s emotions and taking turns stomping on their own hearts, and doing so by choice - definitely not a tango.
Pacey and Joey head to the center of the dance floor, right in the midst of the swirling dancers and flashing lights. The music is blaring so loud that the bass is pounding through the floor boards, and Joey can feel the vibrations against her feet. She looks up at Pacey for a second before she begins to dance, wishing she knew what thoughts were racing through his brain at that moment. If they were anything like hers, well...that wouldn't help her figure him out much, since she didn't really know what to think either. She almost jumps in shock as Pacey puts his hands on her hips, then feels the electricity spark through her body, as it always did when he had touched her. The feeling was scary and amazing; part of her couldn't believe his hands merely touching her could still produce effects like those she's feeling. A bit slowly, Joey begins moving, falling into the familiar rhythm of dancing with him.
Pacey allows himself to get lost in her; he and Joey went clubbing every weekend the summer before college, and dancing together had always been a way to release their sexual tension. Now dancing together again, he can feel the same lust creeping over him. As the minutes pass by, Pacey can feel himself becoming more and more relaxed, Joey more eagerly grinding against him. Clichéd though it may be, Joey always felt more free when she was lost in the crowd, dancing. Free to act however she wanted to. Somehow in that setting, when Joey knew what she wanted to do, she simply did it. Biting her lip, she runs her hands up Pacey's chest as her hips move to the insistent beat of the music, her face coming dangerously close to his for a moment before she moves away, glancing back at him with a seductive look she didn’t even know was on her face.
"Look at those two," Chris gestures with his empty glass toward the dance floor, as a few people move and Joey and Pacey come into his view. He sets the glass down on the bar. Rana looks over to where he had pointed, and smiles.
"I told Joey she was going to get laid tonight." Rana laughs. "I knew I was right." She pauses to take the last sip of her drink. "Though I certainly never imagined that Joey Potter would be as daring to dance like *that*." On the dance floor, Pacey and Joey are again incredibly close together, his leg between her legs, their hands all over one another.
"Well, I never would've thought Jay could move like that either so I guess that's just another secret they've been keeping from us, huh?" Chris takes Rana's glass and sets it next to his, then takes her hand. "What do you say we go give them a run for their money?"
Joey can feel her temperature rising, and not just as a side effect of the dancing. She takes a step back for a moment but continues dancing, trying to calm herself down. Pacey can't take his eyes off of her, entranced with her every move. Had the attraction always been so strong between them? Had things always been so heated? He hadn't felt this feeling in so long that it felt overpowering, almost scary. His hands move to her thighs, and she moves closer to him again. When her eyes meet his, she's surprised to see the intensity burning in them, the sheer emotion that she sees building, and in that moment she had never wanted anyone so badly in her entire life. Frightened by the power of her emotions, Joey stops dancing, turning away from him.
"What's wrong?" He yells over the music. She looks back like a deer caught in headlights, gesturing to her throat.
"I need a drink," she calls back, beginning to make her way to the bar and awkwardly stumbling over her own feet in sudden nervousness. Pacey follows her, unbelievably thirsty himself. When he finally presses his way through the crowd, Joey's already sitting on one of the stools in front of the bar, beer in hand.
"Beer, Jo?" Pacey grins, sitting next to her. "You used to hate that stuff."
"One gets used to it after awhile. Now I kind of even sort of like it."
"It's a taste you simply have to acquire to live a college life," Pacey says, and takes Joey's beer from her, taking a sip. She punches him in the arm as he drinks, causing him to almost drip the liquid down the front of his shirt.
"What was that for?"
"Get your own, jail bait," she replies, grabbing it back from him.
"Now didn't anyone ever teach you how to share?"
"Didn't your mother ever teach you how to say please?" Joey smiles, setting her hand on his arm and looking him square in the eyes. Pacey leans toward her, placing his hand on her upper thigh, and without warning presses his lips to hers in a light kiss.
"Please?" he murmurs, not moving away from her. Joey's breathing quickens, half wishing that he would move back so he couldn't tell how much that simple action had aroused her. He searches her eyes for some kind of reaction, and suddenly feels Joey's hand in his. She stands up without saying anything, setting her beer down on the bar top and walking quickly toward the exit. Pacey immediately wishes he hadn't done that, fearing that the second they got outside Joey was going to blow up at him. Joey pulls him through the doors, the cold air hitting her skin like ice but doing nothing to cool her down.
"Potter, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-" Pacey is cut off as Joey's lips crush against his and he finds himself pressed back against the brick wall of the building, her tongue insistently swirling around his. After the initial shock, Pacey gives into it, wrapping his arms around her tightly. Her fingers twine in his shirt collar, then frantically run through his hair and caress his neck, a small groan escaping her lips. Pacey moves his kisses down to her neck and collarbone, his lips passionately moving against her warm, sensuous skin. The loud bass echoing from inside the building pounded like Joey’s heart, throbbed as hard as her body ached. A couple of people walk by as they enter the club, talking and laughing, but Pacey and Joey barely even notice, things growing even more intense.
Joey presses herself against him, brushing her legs between his to stroke the prominent bulge that is continuing to swell, not caring about where they are or how insane it seemed to be to make out with each other like this, all she can feel is how badly she wants him. Her body is screaming for him; it was hard to fathom that a mere hour ago she was wishing Pacey was in her arms...and now here he is, his lips finding hers again and again, his hands touching her all over.
"Pacey..." she breathes as she touches him again, this time eliciting a deep groan that Pacey simply can't hold back.
"God, Jo..." he murmurs into her ear, his hands moving to her stomach, every once in awhile slipping upward to caress her breasts.
"Pacey...?" Joey begins unbuttoning his shirt. "Which one is your car again?"
Pacey throws open the back door to his car and Joey slips inside, and barely missing a breath, they begin kissing again before the door even falls closed.
Joey lies back against the seat, pulling Pacey toward her, signaling she wants him to lie down with her. He eases himself on top of her, his tongue delving into the farthest regions of her mouth. Joey finishes the job of unbuttoning his shirt, pushing it off of his strong shoulders. It falls to the semi-dirty floor of the car, but Pacey doesn't even notice or simply doesn’t care. Joey runs her hands down the firm contours of his chest and stomach, gazing first at the newly exposed skin and then looking up to Pacey's face with a tiny smile.
"Looks like someone's been doing a little weight training..." She smiles teasingly, smoothing her hand against his muscled abdomen, her pulse quickening.
"Well, you know someone with my rampant sex appeal and avid sex life has to worry about how he looks naked," Pacey replies teasingly before his hands disappear underneath her tight dress, lightly brushing in between her legs, receiving another groan as a result. Joey manages to kick her high heels off as Pacey pulls down her nylons, peeling them off quickly and discarding them. He inches her dress up around her waist as her fingers work open his pants.
"It must be something about the back seat of cars, Pacey..." Joey breathes as his hands move back under her dress once more.
"What?" he whispers softly, not quite catching what it is that she said.
"I just said that we must have something with the back seat of cars...last time was in the back of your parents' station wagon, remember?" Pacey stops, pulling his hands away from Joey's body. Joey sits up, startled. "Pace?"
Pacey looks at Joey, his entire body aching for her, but his heart and mind suddenly frozen with fear.
"I just...I can't do this, Joey. I can't do this again." Pacey runs his hand through his hair, then zips up his pants and fumbles for his shirt.
Joey stares at him for a minute, not entirely sure what had just changed between them.
"Pacey-" He climbs out of the car, throwing on his shirt, and takes a long deep breath of the cool night air. Joey clambers on after him, putting her shoes back on. "Pacey, stop for a second. What just happened?"
"Jo, I can't go through this again. I can't go through this if this isn't...if this going to be like last time, I just can't handle it. I can't take it if we do this and then that's all it is. I need more of you than just sex and that's all this is." Pacey looks down at the ground, knowing he just unloaded way too much on her. What had he been thinking? They had just ran into each other, two years after they said good-bye, and in no time at all they were about to have sex in the back seat of his car. It couldn't happen, not when he still felt this strongly for her. Not when he didn't know if she was still in love with him. It couldn't be just sex.
"That's not all this is, Pacey. Is that what you thought it was the first time? Back in high school?" Joey moves so she is in front of him, angered by the very idea.
"No, that's not what I meant, Joey. I meant that I can't...back then, this happened. *This* happened, and then we pretended it didn't. We pretended that what was perhaps the most important night of my life didn't even happen. And it almost destroyed me then, and if this is going to be something...we just met up again, Joey...I don't know anything about you, you don't know anything about me, I don't know...I don't know..."
"You think I've changed so much that I'd have a one night stand with one of my oldest friends in the backseat of his car and then disappear from your life again?"
"I'm afraid that if I made love to you tonight, Joey, that couldn't be it. I've never stopped loving you all this time and doing this now would only make me fall harder than ever before. And I can't do that to myself again. I can't do it." Pacey turns and walks around to the driver's side door, unlocking it and climbing inside.
"Would make any difference if I told you that I'm just as much in love with you as I was two years ago?" Pacey stops, and soon Joey is standing in front of the driver’s side door. She leans over and sets his hand over his, pulling the keys out of the ignition. "Nothing's changed, Pacey. Except now there's no reason for us not to be together." Pacey stares at her for a moment, then climbs out of the car silently and locks the door.
“Everything’s changed, Potter. Everything. You can’t pretend that things aren’t different now.”
“They’re different, sure, Pacey, but I’m talking about how I feel for you. Those haven’t changed. And yours haven’t either, so…why are we even having this discussion?” Joey raises her eyebrows at him, daring him to challenge her.
“We’re having this discussion because we’ve been apart for two years and it’s been what…an hour since we ran into one another? Don’t you think that maybe-“
“It’s a little soon? Pacey, you said before we were never ones to find ourselves in a typical situation. We are not the usual people. And if it ends up being the wrong thing, Pace…well…someone once told me that sometimes it’s right to do the wrong thing.” Joey gazes up at him, seeing the struggle to make the decision fighting behind his eyes. “Pacey…”
Closing his eyes and letting out a deep breath, Pacey takes her hands in his and brings them up between them. His eyes flicker open and he finds himself staring right into her deep brown ones.
“Aren’t I usually the one convincing us to act impulsively, Jo?”
“Well, this time it’s my turn.” Joey looks at him, wondering what was going to happen next. She finds out in a moment as Pacey’s lips cover hers and he pulls her close again.
“Your place or mine, Potter?”
Pacey fumbles with his keys as he unlocks the door to his apartment, trying to resist the temptation of pinning Joey to the door and losing control right there in the hallway. His shirt had managed to find its way off as they walked down the hall, the back of her dress already unzipped; they had been unable to keep their hands off each other. Joey clutches his shirt in her right hand, twining her other hand in his hair, her teeth gently tugging on his bottom lip as he tries to pull away to open the door. Finally he manages to get the key in the door and twist it open, and pulls Joey inside. The door slams behind them and he presses her back against it, immediately tugging off her dress straps and sending the clinging fabric down to the ground. Joey returns the favor, eagerly unbuttoning his pants. They step out of their discarded clothes, moving one step toward the bedroom and then one step back to the door. Joey leans against it again for support, her muscles beginning to feel weak.
“Pacey…” she groans his name, her mind reeling with anticipation. His lips are searing hot against her chest, his fingers slipping underneath the edges of her bra. Her body felt like it was on fire; lust surged through her veins like her own blood, the warm feeling of love and intimacy swelling from the bottoms of her toes all the way to her flushed cheeks. Joey shuts her eyes tightly, bright colors flashing before her eyes in the darkness. Everything is happening so fast that she barely knows how she managed to take off the rest of his clothes, but somehow she found herself pressed against his naked body, her now bare breasts being lovingly assaulted by the heat of Pacey’s mouth. Knowing that Rana and Chris might be showing up any instant, Pacey guides Joey to his bedroom, where they collapse on the bed together, unable to wait any longer.
“Heather? How’d you know it was me?”
“You’re the only person who would ever call us this late.”
“Did I wake you?”
“No…I’m up waiting for Joey.”
“Not home yet?”
“Nope, not home yet,” Heather replies, cradling the phone in her right hand. “She’s still out with Rana and Chris and the mystery man.”
“I guess it must be going well, then,” Steve says, smiling a little into the receiver. “Either that or Mr. Blind Date turned out to be a psycho and Chris, Rana, and Joey are now running from him through the streets of Boston Scream-style.” He pauses, laughing lightly. “Did you ever find her before, when you were looking for her in the library?”
“I hope it wasn’t too important.”
“Um…no…not really,” Heather lies, not really sure how much to tell. “It’s just something she needed to know. But I don’t think there was…any dire need to tell her immediately tonight.” Heather looks down at the unopened note in her hand. Joey hadn’t read it, clearly. So obviously, she still had no idea that Pacey Witter is in Boston. How would she react when she found out?
“Well, that’s good. I guess I’ll leave you to go back to whatever you were doing now…will you just tell Joey that I called? I’m interested to hear how this date of hers went.”
“Kay, bye,” Steve hangs up, leaving Heather to her thoughts. She glaces at the clock in the kitchen. 2am. Where could Joey possibly be?
Chris enters the apartment and switches on the light, Rana following him slowly.
“Pacey? You here?”
Their entrance far less romantic or heated than Joey and Pacey’s, Chris looks at the front room, slightly drunk, and laughs a little. “Well. That answers that question.” He says, picking up a pair of black underwear from the foyer floor and gesturing to the other items of clothing strewn about the room. Rana laughs then clutches her head.
“Ow…Chris, get some coffee started, would ya?” she mutters. She and Chris had been out all night, and had actually fallen asleep on the couch of some café for at least an hour before the place closed down. She glances down, seeing the evidence of Pacey and Joey’s whereabouts at her feet as if Chris hadn’t said a word about them. “I guess we know where Joey and Pacey disappeared to last night. Nice of them to let us know they were leaving.” Truthfully, they hadn’t even noticed the pair was gone until half an hour after they left, and even then, neither of them had particularly cared.
At that moment, Pacey emerges from the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist. He looks at the two of them, startled to see them standing there, and even more surprised to see Chris holding Joey’s underwear in his hand.
“Hey, you guys,” he manages to stutter, a faint shade of pink blushing his cheeks. He quickly walks over and takes the piece of clothing from Chris’s hand. “Um, I’ll take that.” Pacey gathers up the rest of the clothes that are around Chris and Rana’s feet while managing to keep a tight grasp on his towel. Chris looks at Rana, annoyed that her eyes are gazing, and gazing approvingly, at his roommate’s barely clad body. Pacey, once he has all the clothes gathered up in his arms, turns and gives Chris and Rana a look, a cross between supreme embarrassment and the strong wish for them to leave. He’s about to say something when Joey steps out of the bathroom, wondering what’s taking Pacey so long. She stops in her tracks and turns a deep shade of red.
“Oh – I…didn’t know you guys were here,” she stumbles, looking at them awkwardly.
“We just got home,” Chris says, gesturing to the door as if he needs to explain how they came in. Rana winks at Joey, nodding at her in a “wink-wink nudge-nudge, eh?” fashion. Joey just holds her towel more tightly around her and takes a step toward Pacey’s bedroom, feeling incredibly awkward. Chris moves past Joey and into the bathroom. “I need to get some aspirin.” Pacey and Joey exchange looks, and Pacey follows Joey’s lead to his room.
“Okay, well, we’ll be in my room if you need us,” Pacey says, as more of a polite departure remark, knowing they won’t be needing him for anything at all.
As soon as they close the door behind them, Pacey laughs lightly.
“Damn glad we didn’t come out of the bathroom without towels,” he remarks. “Think of how embarrassing that would have been!” Joey giggles too, but reality seemed to have wedged an edge of nervousness between them. They hadn’t exactly taken any time to seriously talk the night before; after the parking lot, it had basically been a nightlong release of built up passion and desire. But now the questions had to be answered. The silence that falls between them speaks for itself. Sighing, Joey steps away from Pacey and sits gingerly on his unmade bed, her damp hair sprinkling tiny droplets of water onto the sheets.
“What do we tell them, Pacey?”
“Why do we have to tell them anything? We don’t owe them an explanation.”
“Okay…that was just a cloaked attempt to see where we stand with one another after last night, Pacey, I know we don’t have to tell them anything,” Joey rolls her eyes, and takes her clothes from him, beginning to get dressed. Pacey stops her, closing his hands over hers and prying the clothes from them gently.
“Don’t do that, Joey. There’s no need for a melodramatic scene here. I can tell you exactly how I feel about everything that’s happened right here, right now.” He tells her earnestly, dropping her clothes onto the floor and taking a seat next to her on the bed. He brushes her hair back over her shoulder softly, gazing into her eyes.
“And how do you feel, Pacey?” Joey half-whispers.
“There’s nothing about last night that I would take back, Joey. It was something that I have been dreaming about since the instant we left each other to go to college. In high school, there were so many reasons for us to be apart, but now…we’ve been brought back together again. And I can’t think of one simple reason for us to walk away from each other again. I love you and I’d like for us to be together…if that’s what you want.”
“It just seems too simple,” Joey murmurs. Pacey frowns, and Joey rushes to explain herself. “After all this time, I just feel like I shouldn’t still be this comfortable around you, Pace. After being apart for so long, I know that there should have been some awkwardness, some sense of angst, some huge production should’ve gone on before we could actually be together and admit that our love for one another never faded away…but I don’t feel any of that. But I don’t feel like that at all. I feel as if we’ve never been apart, like being with you was the most natural thing in the world.” Pacey grins warmly as Joey speaks, relieved.
“You have no idea how glad I am to hear you say that, Potter,” he says, giving her a light kiss on the lips. “No idea.”
“If it’s anything like the feeling I got when I saw you in that club last night, Pacey, I think I have a very good idea.” She returns his kiss willingly, smilingly lightly against his lips as they pull away. They lean back onto the bed together, Pacey beginning to pry Joey’s towel off of her body.
“I thought you had class, Pacey…” she laughs as he kisses her neck, and he chuckles in response.
“Class? Who needs class?” He mumbles into her ear.
“I wouldn’t want to be single handedly responsible for the collapse of your college education, Pacey.” Joey replies, jokingly pushing him off of her and climbing off the bed. Pacey grabs her by the waist and pulls her back to him.
“I think that’s a risk you’re just going to have to take, Miss Josephine Potter. Because I’m not planning on leaving this room until you and I are completely caught up.”
“We’re going to be stuck here for awhile then, because there’s a lot to tell you.” Joey turns to face him. “And there is a lot of lost time to make up for.” She captures his lips in hers once more, hoping that the elated feeling that is flowing through her body will never fade away. They move back onto the bed together, and for once just let their emotions that they had so long denied take control. It was about time.
prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5